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Coaching Tips

What Titanic Means to Your Team

Today marks 99 years since Titanic hit the iceberg. Much has changed in the world, including things that could have prevented the disaster: improved communications and satellite images, not to mention the Weather Channel.

But two things will never change, not today, not next year on the 100th anniversary, not ever. One, people will always have to make decisions, and, two, details will always matter.

Captain Smith made the fateful decision to maintain speed despite warnings of an ice field. That is why Smith remained at the bridge, despondent, as the sea caved in on him during the sinking. He knew he had let his crew and passengers down with a poor decision. He had given in to peer pressure from his boss, Bruce Ismay, who wanted to impress the world with the liner’s speed.

Any time you make a decision based on peer pressure, or based on poor focus (speed over safety), you are inviting disaster. Maybe not a disaster on a scale that kills 1500 people, but a disaster anyway.

Then there’s the matter of detail. The lookouts had no binoculars. They were trying to see obstacles, at night, with the naked eye. In spite of Captain Smith’s poor decision to maintain speed, the ship still could have avoided disaster if the lookouts could have seen the iceberg just a little sooner.

On your team, whether it’s a sports or business team, pay attention to how decisions are made. And remember that when it comes to details, there are no little things.


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